Monday, July 16, 2018

The Lord says: It will not happen.

“Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.”  (Isaiah 7:  6).

Have you ever been attacked by a gang of enemies bent on your ruin like King Ahaz of Judah in Isaiah 7: 6? This Scripture came to my aid years ago in the corporate world when a gang of managers swore to my destruction.

"Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood."  (Isaiah 7:  4).

The word of God urged me to be calm and fearless. Through the weeks of the crisis, I repeated the Scripture to myself and called my foes "smoldering stubs of firewood."

"The Lord says this:  "It will not take place, it will not happen. "  (Isaiah 7: 7).

I said to myself that their plans will not succeed because God has said that "It will not happen."  

"Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm."  (Isaiah 7: 9).

I learned the importance of faith and appropriating the promises of Sacred Scripture and standing firm on them.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."  (Psalms 127: 1 - 2).

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is the the Cross?

"Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10: 38).

What is the Cross for me and for you?

The Cross is to seekfirst the Kingdom of God and to live righteously. In other words, make Jesus Christ the first in your home, work and play. Live as righteously as Jesus lived.

How do the deepest truths of the Gospel help us to pick up the Cross every day and follow Jesus?

#1. Believe that God is watching over us night and day and that not a hair falls from our head without His permission!

#2.  Believe that in His infinite Wisdom, He knows  better than you what is good for you.

#3. Believe that in His great power, He can bring good even out of evil. 

To carry your Cross today is no more than making Jesus first in your life, obeying His commandments and accepting with serenity always and everywhere God's disposal of events in your life.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can do it.

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
(John 13:17).

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Father blesses us with every blessing in the heavens.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens." (Ephesians 1: 3).

The above text is from Ephesians 1: 3 - 14, the second Reading in the Sacred Liturgy of this Sunday.  Savor the message of the Holy Spirit for the Church.

I asked Abba Father for the Holy Spirit. The Father gave me not only what I asked for but gave me as well:
Prayer, Word of God, Eucharist, Penance, Ministry.
He gave me peace, pardon, power, purpose, Presence, protection and provision.
He gave me Faith, Patience, Wisdom, Courage and Contentment.

Let us bless "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens" for He is a Promise-Maker and a Promise-Keeper.

"In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,  which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1: 13 - 14).

Amen.  Alleluia!

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Lord send me.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”  (Isaiah 6: 8).

The Prophet Isaiah had a vision of God in His Temple. In this vision, the Almighty has a message for the world.  “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”  “Here I am,”  said Isaiah “send me!”  (Isaiah 6: 8).

In today's Gospel (Matthew 10: 24 - 33).  Jesus once again instructs His disciples on the cost of discipleship.  In your missionary endeavors, I warn you to be prepared for anything. He concludes by giving them a great assurance of Divine protection and provision.  Without God's great faithfulness in keeping this promise, there will be no Church or missionaries today.
Read Christ's assurance and believe the word as the word of God and not the word of man.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."  (Matthew 10:  29 - 31).

You are indeed worth more than many sparrows.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Honey, please come back.

"Thus says the Lord:
Return, Israel, to the Lord, your God;
you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words, and return to the Lord; Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity, and take what is good.  Let us offer the fruit of our lips."  (Hosea 14: 2 - 3).

Yahweh God in the above Scripture is pleading with His spouse, Israel who offended Him and keeps offending Him by her flagrant prostitution: "Honey, please come back. I am prepared to forgive and forget everything.  Only tell Me that you are sorry and we can start all over as if nothing happened."

This is no melodrama here. This is the true Heart of God as presented in Sacred Scripture.  We are all the wayward woman.

The Response the Holy Spirit prompts the Church to use in today's Sacred Liturgy is the very response of David when he was cornered by Prophet Nathan to admit his guilt of adultery and murder.

"Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

Indeed you love truth in the heart;
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise.
(Psalm 51:3-4,8-9,12-14,17).

Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Join hands with Me to complete this mission.

"Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give."  (Matthew 10: 8).

In Matthew 10: 1 - 7, Jesus chose the Twelve Apostles and commissioned them to start building the new Church He came to found:  Heal the sick, cast out demons and preach the arrival of the Kingdom of God. He lays down two principles to guide their missionary work:

#1.  They had full scholarship. Tuition and board were free.  Their healing and teaching ministry will be done free of charge.
Christ recognizes that the Apostles still need food and lodging. He lays down the second principle of missionary work.
#2. "The laborer deserves his keep."  (Matthew 10: 10).
They are not to be anxious about their needs. The people they serve will be inspired to provide what they need.

Seekfirst the Kingdom of God and live as simply as I do.  If you take care of My business, I promise to take care of yours.
"Master, this is a deal."

The mustard seed continues to grow and has become a huge tree where every kind of bird makes its home.
Will you trust Jesus?  Will you join hands with Him to complete this project?

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

To understand Jesus, you must understand the Kingdom He came to build.

"Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness."  (Matthew 10: 1).

The Twelve is now formally constituted into a body to speak and act as Jesus. Cast out evil spirits and cure every disease and illness.  Then Jesus mandated the definitive mission of the Twelve and the Church they would oversee:
Make the proclamation everywhere:
"THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND." (Matthew 10: 7).

This is our mission. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33).

But what is the Kingdom of God?
Pope Francis has something important to say about the Kingdom of God and our personal involvement in its realization.  In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, "Rejoice and Be Glad."

"Just as you cannot understand Christ apart from the kingdom he came to bring, so too your personal mission is inseparable from the building of that kingdom: “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Your identification with Christ and his will involves a commitment to build with him that kingdom of love, justice and universal peace. Christ himself wants to experience this with you, in all the efforts and sacrifices that it entails, but also in all the joy and enrichment it brings. You cannot grow in holiness without committing yourself, body and soul, to giving your best to this endeavor. (Gaudate et Exsultate: REJOICE & BE GLAD).

To understand Jesus, you must understand the Kingdom which is His life's work. To be a Christian, you must seek first the kingdom of God and live as Jesus lived.

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Monday, July 09, 2018

Wherever love and joy is to be found, there is God.

"But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”  (Matthew 9: 34).

Jesus cast out a demon from a mute demoniac and the Pharisees accuse Him of working under the power of the prince of demons.

Joy, peace, encouragement can never come from the Devil.  UBI CARITAS (wherever love is to be found, there is God) is a popular song in the Church teaches that love comes only from God.  Jesus is love, peace, joy and mercy incarnate.  How can the Pharisees not see this?

St Paul advices his spiritual children:
"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4: 8).
These qualities come only from God.

"Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit."  (Matthew 7: 17 - 18). The Pharisees and their likes are known by their fruits.

How do you recognize the actions of God in your life?  What are the fruits? Joy, peace, love, encouragement? They are from God.  Sadness, fears, worries and doubts? They are from the Evil One.
Swing into spiritual warfare and reject them in the mighty Name of Jesus.

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

The unbelievable faith of the official.

 “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”  (Matthew 9: 18).

An official whose daughter has just died said to Jesus: I believe that if You come with me to my house and lay Your hand on my dead daughter, she would be alive again.
Whence come the faith of this man? Why does one person have faith and another no faith? Can faith be developed?

The world today is witnessing an unprecedented crisis of faith.  It reminds us of the time of Hosea in the 8th century BC when the Kingdom of Israel had become very prosperous and experienced mass idolatry: idols of money, business, pleasure and all types of distractions.  Sounds familiar?  Large portions of the world today live in unbridled materialism.  Materialism has always opposed faith in the individual and society.

The official in the Gospel of today believed in Jesus.  He believed that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. (Hebrews 12: 2).  The official believed that the words and person of Jesus produce miracles.

How can we develop such strong faith?  Faith is a pure gift of God which God is more willing to give than we to receive. Ask for faith with boldness. Study passages like the message of today in the Gospels and learn all that you can about faith.

How about the materialism that infects all of us?  This is a prayer I would like to make every day:

“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."  (Proverbs 30: 7 - 9).

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Saturday, July 07, 2018

My grace is sufficient for you.

 “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12: 9).

If the grace of Christ is sufficient for the Apostle Paul, the same grace of Jesus will do exactly the same for us. To enjoy this favor, understand and trust the Divine Providence.  Then adopt these three steps to peace of heart and mind:

#1 Accept all that has happened.
#2 Accept everything that is happening.
#3  Cooperate with everything except what is sinful.

St Paul understood the mystery of Divine Providence and the Sufficiency of the Grace of God. His attitude underwent 360 degree change. Read St Paul's insight into mysteries of faith:

"I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.  Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."  (2 Corinthians 12: 9 - 10).

Before you can boast of the things Paul boasted about, you must accept them.
Help us O Lord to know Your power working in us.

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Friday, July 06, 2018

The Lord promises full restoration.

"Thus says the Lord: On that day I will raise up the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old." (Amos 9: 11).

God castigated His people through His word proclaimed by Prophet Amos. God's anger lasts a moment. His mercy lasts forever.  The Chosen people that once dwelt in palaces and big mansions now lived in dilapidated huts.  From riches to rags.  God's ways are not our ways.  He strikes and He heals.

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance."  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 4).

The Lord promises restoration to a long suffering people.  Are you waiting for restoration in any areas of your life? This promise is for all of us.
"I will restore my people Israel, they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities, Plant vineyards and drink the wine, set out gardens and eat the fruits."  (Amos 9:  14).

"I, the LORD will do it." (Amos 9: 12).

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

When will the new moon be over?

"See what days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –
days when I will bring famine on the country, a famine not of bread, a drought not of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.
They will stagger from sea to sea,
wander from north to east,
seeking the word of the Lord
and failing to find it."  (Amos 8: 11 - 12).

Can a day actually come when people will hunger so much for the word of God?
"O God, when will this day come?" could be the unsurprising response of modern prophets worn out by constant rejection of their message. 

“When will the new moon be over,” you ask, “that we may sell our grain,
And the sabbath, that we may open the grain-bins?"  (Amos 8: 5).

The people rejected the Sabbath Rest which is a bonus bestowed by a loving God on His people. 
"They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD's gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day."  (Exodus 16: 29 NLT).

"Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord."  (Matthew 11: 28).
Who will respond to this cry of Jesus?
"Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks."  (Matthew 4: 4), Jesus teaches.

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of July 2018.

July 6, 2018 First Friday in July 2018.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 7th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #7.

#7.  "Tepid souls shall become fervent."

What is tepid?  Tepid is defined as lukewarm, slightly warm, unenthusiastic, apathetic, half-hearted.
Listen to what Jesus said about such persons:
"Because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3: 16).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Is it easier to heal the body or the soul?

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”  (Matthew 9:   2).

Jesus was ministering in a room packed with people.  The friends of the paralytic man lowered him from the roof and dropped him in front of Jesus.  Their action is the "faith" that Jesus saw.  So you can see faith.

The bigger theme of the Gospel of today is the sin of the paralyzed man.  Since Jesus came to suffer and die for sin, He dealt first with the root and source of illness.  “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9: 2).  Jesus was immediately attacked for forgiving the man's sins. “This man is blaspheming.” (Matthew 9: 3).

The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world knows more than anyone the intricate connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.  He proves it:
"Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”  (Matthew 9: 5 - 6).

"Lord, send your mercy and your truth to rescue us from the snares of the devil, and we will praise you among the peoples and proclaim you to the nations, happy to be known as companions of your Son."  (Psalm Prayer, Lauds Thursday, July 5th, 13th Week in Ordinary Time).

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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

The message of Prophet Amos on the occasion of the Independence Anniversary.

"Seek good and not evil, that you may live; Then truly the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you as you claim. Hate evil and love good,
and let justice prevail at the gate;
Then it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will have pity on the remnant of Joseph."  (Amos 5: 14 - 15).

America celebrates its Independence Anniversary today.  The exhortation from the Prophet Amos in today's Scripture reminds us that genuine freedom is a gift from God.   To safeguard this freedom, the nation must pursue goodness and justice.
The prophet concludes his persuasive nudge to the nation thus:
"But if you would offer me burnt offerings, then let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream."  (Amos 5:  22, 24).

"Father of all nations and ages,
we recall the day when our country
claimed its place among the family of nations; for what has baen achieved we give you thanks,
for the work that still remains we ask your help, and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, grant that, under your Providence, our country may share your blessings with all the peoples of the earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen." (Collect of the Mass of Independence Day).

Happy Independence to you all.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

I command you stop doubting and you start believing now.

"Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”  (John 20: 27).

The above text is a sharp rebuke of of Thomas the Apostle by Jesus. Thomas insisted that he had to see with his two eyes, stick his fingers into the nail holes before he would believe.
What is the principal error of Thomas? Against reason, he refused to believe the testimony of credible witnesses.  He discounted the affirmation of Peter and the other apostles and Mary Magdalene who had become eye witnesses to the apparitions of Jesus after the Resurrection.  Faith comes from believing the testimony of credible witnesses.   There are just a few things in life you can see and touch. Vast majority of things we believe because someone we trust tells us so.

Disbelief, unbelief, unreasonable doubt are crippling mental states. Can you believe that there are folks among us today who deny the Holocaust? Victims of these barbarism still live among us.

Jesus told Thomas, "Stop doubting and believe.”  (John 20: 27).  This command was all that Thomas needed to make him a super believer.  Jesus too can command our doubts, fears and worries disappear.  Let us ask Him:

Lord Jesus, command that we no longer be faithless but strong believers in You and Your mission.   Say but a word Jesus and our doubts will be gone. Amen.

Today is the feast of St Thomas the Apostle, martyr and great missionary to India.  This feast is a Solemnity in India.
St Thomas pray for us.

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

How far and how long are you prepared to follow Me?

“Teacher,  I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”  Another of [his] disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”  But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”  (Matthew 8: 19 - 22).

Two enthusiastic would be disciples received one answer to their application to follow Jesus:
You must count carefully the cost of discipleship.  How far and how long are you prepared to follow Me? What will you do when the going becomes tough?  I will show you what a prudent and faithful disciple looks like.  That disciple followed Me from the beginning of my ministry to the end.

“What sort of servant, then, is faithful wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at his employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns.” (Matthew 24: 45 – 48)

Pope St John Paul II writing on faithfulness says:
It is good to be faithful for one day.
It is better to be faithful for ten years.
It excellent and blessed to be faithful day after day to the end.

This is why the Blessed Virgin Mary is called the most excellent and faithful disciple of Jesus.  She received the message of salvation from the Archangel Gabriel. She followed Jesus learning everything she could. She walked the Via Dolorosa with her Son to Calvary.  She received the body of her Son from the Cross from the Roman soldiers. She laid Him in the tomb and witnessed the sealing of the tomb.
Call this: faithful from womb to tomb.
A disciple of Jesus must be prepared to give all.

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Woman, go in peace. You are free of your issues.

“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  (Mark 5: 34).

Who heard this most beautiful words from the lips of Jesus?
"A woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.  She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse." (Mark 5: 25 - 26).

Sounds familiar?  First a few details about the woman.  After she had become bankrupt without getting cured, a friend suggested she try Jesus.  The amazing thing is that from hearing about Jesus and His ministry, she believed that Jesus would heal her.  The Scriptures say that faith comes from hearing. Not any type of hearing but hearing the word of God.  (Romans 10: 17).

“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  (Mark 5: 34).

This woman had faith and humility. She was dogged in her perseverance to regain her health. She believed the story about Jesus. She committed to finding Jesus wherever He might be. When she found Jesus, she pushed everybody out of the way and did as she planned:   “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” (Mark 5: 28).

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do." (Pope St John XXIII).

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Lord I am not worthy to receive You in my house.

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed."  (Matthew 8: 8).

Do you recognize the Scripture above as our prayer before Holy Communion?  These are the words of a Roman Centurion to Jesus.  The Church uses it as the most appropriate prayer to excite us to faith and humility. Ask yourself this question:  If a military officer from pagan Rome can rise to this level of faith and humility, why not you?  Why after years and years of Holy Communion  can one deny Jesus the faith and reverence He expects and deserves in this great Sacrament? I think of three possible reasons:

1. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  (St Jerome).
2. "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." (CCC 2087).
3.  Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God."  (Matthew 22: 29).

The situation can be remedied.  You can start growing and enjoying your faith by resolving today to give 15 minutes of your time every day to reading the Bible.

I believe in prayer.
I believe in the word of God.
I believe in miracle.
I Ieave the rest to God.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

The message of Peter and Paul still goes out through all the world.

"Peter said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus replied: You are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church."  (Matthew 16: 16, 18).

Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. These are the two great pillars of the Church.  Peter became the first Pope while Paul became the first missionary.  Both were martyred in Rome under Emperor Nero.

The message of these two Apostles still goes out through all the world.

"O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul
give us the noble and holy joy of this day, grant, we pray, that your Church may in all things follow the teaching of those through whom she received the beginnings of right religion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(Collect on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul).

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The consequences of building on unstable foundation.

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock." (Matthew 7: 24 - 25)

Who do you hire to build a solid family home that will last many years?  Will you not employ the best builder?

"Unless the LORD build the house,
they labor in vain who build.
Unless the LORD guard the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch."  (Psalm 127: 1)

The Lord Himself is the expert Builder.

Below are a few Gospel principles that ensure we build our spiritual life home on solid rock and not on sand:

"Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves." (James 1: 22)
Power comes from acting/doing.

"He [Jesus] replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11: 28)
Blessings come from obeying the word.

"For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified." (Romans 2: 13)
Emphasis again is on observing, acting and doing. 

"Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous." (1 John 3: 7)

Believe what you read.
Teach what you believe.
Practice what you teach.

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13: 17)
Change happens not because of what you know but because of what you do daily.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Their fruits will expose them.

"By their fruits you will know them."  (Matthew 7: 16 & 20).

Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets. They sneak in smiling and looking very innocent.  Give them a little time and they will be exposed by the bad fruits they bear.
The false prophets seek to corrupt sound doctrine and leave trails of  fruitless works of darkness:  "immorality, impurity, licentiousness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like."  (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

To detect and expose the false prophets, we need the word of God and the spirit of discernment.

On discernment, the Church says:  "Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a "delight to the eyes" and desirable, when in reality its fruit is death."  (CCC 2847).

"By their fruits you will know them."  (Matthew 7: 16 & 20). Be Vigilant!

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you.

 “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by saying, ‘Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria." (1 Kings 19: 10).

You may call the above Scripture verse:  super power bravado.  We saw plenty of this recently between the US and North Korea.   The world had good experience of this throughout history.

This type of rant is not peculiar to dictators.  Who has not heard of doctors playing god and saying: "You have less than three months to live."  Or bank managers or supervisors boasting: "You are fired and will be completely ruined."

Now read the inspired response of Hezekiah King of Judah:
"Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the house of the Lord, and spreading it out before the Lord,  Hezekiah prayed in the Lord’s presence."  (2 Kings 19: 14).  Then Hezekiah poured out his heart before the Lord.

I have been inspired several times  to imitate Hezekiah literally.  The result  has been divine intervention.

Abba Father, I believe that You are watching over me night and day and that not a hair falls from my head without Your permission!
I believe that, in Your infinite Wisdom, You know better than I what is good for me.
I believe that, in Your infinite power, You can bring good even out of evil. 
In all the crises of my life, may I run to your holy Presence with confidence.  I ask for this in the mighty Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Instruct the ignorant and admonish sinners.

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.  For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you."  (Matthew 7: 1-2).

Jesus affirms these spiritual principles: Criticism, Complaining and Condemning are vices of the world that has no place in the Kingdom.

But we still have the sacred duty to help our brothers and sisters who may be undergoing temptations using 3 of the 7 spiritual works of mercy:
#1 Instruct the ignorant.
#2 Counsel the doubtful.
#3 Admonish sinners.

When you perform the above with mercy, you fulfill a key Christian duty.   The Church teaches: "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." ( CCC 2087).

"Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."  (Matthew 9: 13)

Lord, you desire mercy and not sacrifice.  You show us so much mercy.  Give us  merciful hearts.  Help us this day to show mercy to everybody we encounter in thought, word and deed.  Thank you Jesus.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Who is John the Baptist?

“John is his name.”  (Luke 1: 63).

June 24th is the Solemnity of St John the Baptist. The feast fell on a Sunday this year.  Because of the stature of St John the Baptist in God's plan of salvation, the Church all over the world gives the feast precedence over the Sunday Liturgy which is very unusual.

We know that his name John was revealed to the parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth before his birth. But what does John mean? It means "the Lord is gracious." But who is John?  For answer we dive into the Old Testament, the first Reading today from Isaiah:

"The Lord called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword, concealed me, shielded by his hand. He made me a sharpened arrow, in his quiver he hid me. He said to me, You are my servant, in you, Israel, I show my glory." (Isaiah 49: 1 - 3).

Not many people were called from their mother's womb for special mission.  To be called, named and given a mission before you were born makes you pretty very special.  As the son of a priest, John was born into the upper class.  He forsook all the privileges for the sake of his calling. Scripture tells us:  "The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel." (Luke 1: 80).

"And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins."  (Luke 1: 76 - 77).

There is great need today to prepare our brothers and sisters for the Second Coming of Jesus.  People's ignorance of God is the chief reason for all moral deviations according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (CCC 2087).  Are you willing to be an evangelist or a catechist?

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Why do pagans worry a lot?

"Do not worry about your life."  (Matthew 6: 25).
"So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?" (Matthew 6: 31).
"Do not worry about tomorrow."  (Matthew 6: 34).

Jesus has one remedy for worries. All worries: family, health, money, job, all types of possessions and tools.  He first tells us that those who do not know the Scriptures and the power of God are consumed by such foolish and unnecessary worries. (Cf Matthew 22: 29).  Pagans think of nothing else but these things.

But for you:  "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides." (Matthew 6: 33).
So what is the Kingdom of God? It is here and now the reign, rule or control of Jesus Christ in the hearts and minds of Christians. His righteousness means His manner of life and doing things. When you embrace the reign of the King and His teachings, you have a singleness of purpose in everything in life.  Examples:  St John the Baptist, St Paul, St Ignatius Loyola, etc. Then you experience abundance or affluence in your life.

Is this utopian? Maybe for those who do not know the Scriptures and the power and promises of God.  (Cf Matthew 22: 29)
"For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29: 11).

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Two men who invested their treasure in different places.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.... But store up treasures in heaven...... For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."  (Matthew 6: 19 - 21).

Where do you hide your treasure? What does prosperity mean to you?
The Gospel differentiates genuine riches and filthy lucre.  Genuine wealth is one you can  keep and enjoy always and everywhere.  It is faith, hope, love, patience, wisdom, peace, courage, contentment, humility, etc.  He who has God has everything.  He who hoards the wealth of this world has nothing.

Two men illustrate the difference between genuine riches and filthy lucre:  St Thomas More and Cardinal Thomas Wosley.  Both men were in the inner circle of the government of King Henry VIII of England in the 16th century.  St Thomas More put God first in his life and work. Cardinal Thomas Wosley put the king first.  Henry VIII beheaded St Thomas More because he refused to put the king first.  Cardinal Thomas Wosley continued in power for a little longer.  Cardinal Wosley said while he laid dying in disgrace:  "But if I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he [God] would not ..."
Surely God would never forsake His own.

Today is the feast of St Thomas More.  Among many patronages that he enjoys is the patron saint of lawyers.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

O God from whom all good things come!

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  (Matthew 6: 8).

Behold one of the most beautiful revelations of Jesus!
Lord Jesus, You give us the consolation of Scriptures.  Praise and honor and glory be to You.

Other truths of Scripture to warm your heart:
1.  All things are possible for God.
2.  There is nothing too marvelous for God to do for you.
3.  O God from whom all good things come.
4.  Have you not seen how God has provided all our needs?
5.  God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
6.  "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." ( CCC 2087).
7.   In Your infinite Wisdom, You know better than us what is good for us. In Your infinite power, You can bring good even out of evil.  

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I want a double portion of your spirit.

"Request whatever I might do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”  (2 Kings 2: 9).

Elijah the great prophet knowing that his time has come to leave this earth, wanted to bestow on Elisha his disciple a memorable gift.  He asked Elisha the above question. Elisha gave a great answer that reminds us of Solomon when God asked him a similar question:
"That  night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."  (2 Chronicles 1: 7).

Solomon asked for wisdom. If you have a similar opportunity like Solomon and Elisha, what will you ask for?
Jesus Himself suggests to us what to ask for:
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11: 13).

Do you believe the word of Jesus?  Then open your heart and mind to the promise of God who cannot lie:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  (Matthew 7: 7).

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Have you found me out, my enemy?

“Have you found me out, my enemy?” (1 Kings 21: 21). 

These are the words of King Ahab to the Prophet Elijah when the prophet came to confront Ahab with the murder and loot of Naboth's land. Remember King David, Bethsheba and her husband?  No matter how secret your sin is, God knows the details.  King David left us Psalm 51, a masterpiece of penitential prayer.

After God imposed the severest punishment on Ahab and Queen Jezebel, husband and wife infamous for holding the Guinness Book of Records for wickedness in the Bible, you can't believe what King Ahab did.

"When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued."  (1 Kings 21: 27).

Even more incredible is God's response to Ahab's act of repentance:
"Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s time."  (1 Kings 21:  29).

We learn from this Bible incident that to err is human. To be merciful and forgiving is God.
The ABC OF MERCY:
A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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6-19

“Have you found me out, my enemy?” (1 Kings 21: 21). 

These are the words of King Ahab to the Prophet Elijah when the prophet came to confront Ahab with the murder and loot of Naboth's land. Remember King David, Bethsheba and her husband?  No matter how secret your sin is, God knows the details.  King David left us Psalm 51, a masterpiece of penitential prayer.

After God imposed the severest punishment on Ahab and Queen Jezebel, husband and wife infamous for holding the Guinness Book of Records for wickedness in the Bible, you can't believe what King Ahab did.

"When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued."  (1 Kings 21: 27).

Even more incredible is God's response to Ahab's act of repentance:
"Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s time."  (1 Kings 21:  29).

We learn from this Bible incident that to err is human. To be merciful and forgiving is God.
The ABC OF MERCY:
A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The source of power for Christian testimony.

"Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."  (Matthew 5: 42).

In Matthew Chapter 5,  starting with the Beatitudes, our Teacher Jesus gave challenging instructions which defined Christian saintly conduct in every age.  These evangelical precepts challenge our human nature to the core.  This is why they are so powerful.  If you act on them, they change not just your life but they become the strongest tool for evangelization.  The Roman society in the first decades of Christianity was evangelized by the application of the Teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew Chapter 5.

"Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."  (Matthew 5: 42).

You cannot observe any of these divine commands without the help of the Holy Spirit.
Father, fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may live abundantly.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Kingdom of God and the Mustard Seed.

"Jesus said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God;  it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land........“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God.... It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”  (Mark 4:  26, 30 - 32).

Jesus Christ came to establish the Kingdom of God.  He taught us to pray every day for the coming of the Kingdom. "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6: 10).
But what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom here on earth consists of the men and women who submit themselves to the rule and discipline of God in their hearts and minds.

In the parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus revealed one characteristic of the Kingdom.  It starts very tiny.  Like a mustard seed. And it grows and grows and grows.

We get the same picture of the mystery of the Kingdom from the First Reading from Ezekiel:

"Thus says the Lord God:
I, too, will pluck from the crest of the cedar the highest branch.
From the top a tender shoot I will break off and transplant on a high, lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it. It shall put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar.
Every small bird will nest under it,
 all kinds of winged birds will dwell in the shade of its branches."  (Ezekiel 17: 22 - 23).

The seed and beginning of the Kingdom of God is the Church. (CCC 541).

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Friday, June 15, 2018

How do you respond to falsehood in the public domain?

Jesus said to His disciples: "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath..... Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one."  (Matthew 5:  33, 37).

Pilate when he heard that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth, asked Him: "What is truth?" (John 18: 37 - 38).

Truth is under attack everywhere today.  Why does this matter?  Jesus calls the Devil, the enemy of mankind "the Father of lies."  (John 8: 44).  As we celebrate Father's Day this weekend, we need to do some soul searching on our commitment to truth.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."  (Exodus 20: 16).  Although Pilate was fully aware that the Jewish leaders bore false witness against Jesus, he still condemned Jesus to death for political correctness.
How do you respond to false statements in the political domain? Could your response affect the perception and integrity of truth by your family?

"Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one."  (Matthew 5: 37).

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

After the fire, a whispering sound.

"The word of the Lord came to him [Elijah].  Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will pass by."  (1 Kings 19: 9, 11).

Elijah the great Prophet could not hide from God even inside a deep cave in Mount Horeb.  There is something very tender and admirable about God in this narrative.  He never forgets His servants in their depression and low points. He seeks them out and lifts them up.

At Mount Horeb, God manifests Himself to Elijah in a quick and successive theophanies.  First, a cyclone, tearing apart mountain and crushing rocks. This was followed by a 8 or 9 magnitude earthquake. After the earthquake, a huge fire. God who appeared to be enjoying the show of His huge power was not in any of these terrifying forces of nature.

"After the fire, a light silent sound.
When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave."  (1 Kings 19: 12 - 13).

This encounter of Elijah and God at Mount Horeb teaches us a number of salutary lessons:
#1  Our God is in charge of all the forces of nature. They are not random uncontrollable evil forces.
#2   “Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”  (Psalm 46: 11).
Seek the LORD in silence. In solitude.  Not in confusion or thunder blasts. At the same time, be fully prepared for surprises.
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."  (John 3: 8).

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my saving strength."  (Psalm 17: 3).

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Why delay forgiving your brother?

"If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,  leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift."  (Matthew 5: 23 - 24).

Don’t postpone forgiving grievances.  Do not say: when I get home, I will forgive him or her. You may not get home.  Don't say, I will forgive tomorrow. You may have only today.

Don’t postpone asking for forgiveness.  Don't count on tomorrow or another time to do it.  You have phone, email and text messaging to do it. As your conscience smites you, do it at once.  The ceremonial part may come later.

When you pray in the morning, ask God to forgive your sins.  Tell Him that you forgive completely anyone who has offended you.  Ask God to offer the grace to all those you have offended so that they can forgive you and release you.  Finish by thanking God for His bottomless mercy.

"Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."  (Matthew 5:  26).

Thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Purgatory.  In His gracious mercy, God gives us a second chance.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

St Anthony was a great teacher and eminent preacher.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 19).

Today is the feast of St Anthony of Padua, 13th century Franciscan priest, Doctor of the Church, great teacher, eminent preacher, miracle worker.  He died at the age of 36.
God teaches us through the lives of holy men and women in the Bible.  God continues the pedagogy through the biographies of saints.  Their lives open a window into God's ways and His thoughts. (Cf Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

Anthony pondered the law of God day and night and as His God promised, yielded abundant fruit in due season.  (Cf Psalm 1: 1 - 3).

St Anthony of Padua is the Patron Saint of lost things.  He became one of my patron saints when Microsoft wanted to deny me an email address I had for over 20 years before Microsoft acquired the Hotmail company.  I fought back calling on St Anthony to aid me.  I experienced the joy of answered prayer.

St Anthony pray for us.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

You will shine in the world like bright stars.

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven."
(Matthew 5: 14 -16).

Lord Jesus, You called us the light of the world.   All things are possible for You.  Nothing is too marvelous for You to do for us.   Light us up with Your word and enable us to light up the world You open up for us.

Just like John the Baptist was a lamp that shone and gave light, (John 5: 35)
"You will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. (Philippians 2: 15 - 16).

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

How credible are the Beatitudes?

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 11).

Are the Beatitudes principles for spiritual happiness and contentment credible? They are patterned on the life of Jesus Christ. 

How can persecution, insults, discrimination, rejection result in a blessed and happy life? The answer is uncomplicated for those who know the "Scriptures and the power of God." (Matthew 22: 29, Mark 12: 24).  This is a paradox:  Lose your life, security in order to find it.  If all you have is God, you have everything.
Christian and experiences of other religions prove the truth.

"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  (Matthew 5: 12).
Believe or not believe, this is the question.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts."   (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Who is this Woman?

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel."  (Genesis 3: 15).

Who is the Woman of Genesis 3: 15?  Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church and the constant teaching of the Magisterium identified the Woman as the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 2 Corinthians 4: 13, Paul teaches:
"Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak."   Yes indeed, we too believe and therefore we speak.

For the avoidance of doubt of the tight integration between the ministry of the Redeemer and the Woman, please read:

"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted  (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2: 34 - 35).

And further,
"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother....... When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."  (John 19: 25 - 27).

The salvation of mankind was wrought on the Cross.  The Blessed Virgin Mary was not just an eye witness or a spectator but an active participant from womb to tomb?

"O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need, may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen."  (Collect: 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus said to them.

"They [Mary and Joseph] did not understand what he said to them." (Luke 2: 50).

Today is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The feast follows immediately the Saturday after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Heart of Jesus and Heart of Mary.  Two hearts. One heart beat in the divine mission given mother and Son.

The Gospel for the feast is one of my favorite.  Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple after three days of agonising search for Him. Neither Mary or Joseph understood Jesus' reply to them.  But "his mother kept all these things in her heart."  (Luke 2:  51).  In our Journey of Faith, there will many things we cannot understand.  We do well to imitate Mary and surrender them to God who knows everything.  If it pleases God , He will enlighten you in His own time and His own way.

"O God, who prepared a fitting dwelling place for the Holy Spirit in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, graciously grant that through her intercession we may be a worthy temple of your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  (Collect:  Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary).

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred."  (Hosea 11: 8).

Today Friday is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine."  ( Psalm 32: 11, 19).

Jesus loves every human being with a total, generous and unconditional love.   Obedient to the express wish of Jesus communicated through the mystic, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Church made the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus a universal feast in 1856 to be celebrated the Friday after Corpus Christi.

The Church teaches:
"The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior's steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.". (CCC 2669).

O Sacred Heart of Jesus wounded for our sins, bestow on us in mercy the boundless treasures of Your love.  Amen.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Law of the LORD is perfect giving freedom and victory in life.

"Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the "Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12: 29 - 31).

Jesus quoted the above Scripture in response to the question of a sincere scribe.  The scribe wanted to know how he could fulfill more perfectly the will of God.  What is your attitude of the Commandments and laws in general?  Most kids and adolescents view them as negative and restrictive.  In reality, Commandments and good laws are gateway to freedom and victory in life.  A few examples:

"The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eye.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The statutes of the Lord are true,
all of them just; More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold,
Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb. By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward."  (Psalm 19:  8 - 12).

Our love for God is in direct proportion to our awareness of His love for us.  As you become more aware of God's patience, kindness and compassion toward you, you become the same toward your neighbor. Right?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

"Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God?"  (Mark 12:  24).

Jesus offered this blunt appraisal to the Sadducees who do not believe in the Resurrection.  Whenever I read this Scripture, my mind goes to the modern "Sadducees" who pick and choose what they believe in the Christian Faith. The Resurrection of the dead is not the only tough doctrine in the Christian Faith.  Let us consider the Eucharist:

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51).

Why is this a difficult teaching for many people?
"Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God?"  (Mark 12:  24).

St Jerome, the Church Father and Doctor of the Church teaches:
"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  Jesus concluded His conversation with our Sadducees by saying:  "You are greatly mislead"  if you imagine you can understand the plan and power of God without knowledge of the Scriptures. (Cf Mark 12: 27).

Invest in the word of God and enjoy grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (Cf 2 Timothy 1: 2).

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Render to God what belongs to God.

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”  (Mark 12: 17).

The power of Caesar comes from God. (Romans 13: 1). Caesar has the power to make laws, levy taxes, conscript an army, etc.

God's right is supreme as the apostles lay down in this principle:
"But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority."  (Acts 5: 29).

What is your opinion about this Law of God?
"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates."  (Exodus 20 : 8 - 10).

Render to God what belongs to God.  (Mark 12: 17).

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Know your God. Know His promises.

"Beloved: may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."  (2 Peter 1: 2).

When you invest about 10 minutes a day in knowing God through the Scriptures, what do you get for your effort?
You get grace and peace.  You experience the unmerited favor of God touching every area of your life: Your family, health, finances, job and relationships.
But how about peace? Peace is the Shalom of God. You experience pervasive peace in your body, mind and soul.

"His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power."  (2 Peter 1: 3).

Those who know their God shall stand up and be recognized. (Cf Daniel 11: 32).

Jesus Christ is the Faithful Witness that God is faithful to His promises. (Revelation 1: 5).  Think about it: God was faithful to you yesterday. Has He not been faithful to you so far today? If God gives you tomorrow, He will not fail you.

Know your God. Know His promises.  "Amen, I say to you:  Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you will receive it, and it will be yours, says the Lord."  (Mark 11: 23, 24)

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Saturday, June 02, 2018

The Eucharist is the New Covenant ratified with the Blood of Jesus.

"While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."  (Mark 14: 22 - 24).

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. (CCC 1324). The Eucharist is also the new Covenant ratified with the Blood of Jesus.  (Mark 14: 24).

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord."  (John 6: 57).

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Friday, June 01, 2018

The world needs authority. The world needs the Catholic Church.

“By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mark 11:  28).

You guess right who the above question is directed to.  Of course Jesus.  Who are the questioners?
"As he [Jesus] was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him.... “ (Mark 11: 27 - 28).

This is a good opportunity to see what the Bible says about Authority:

First, all authority comes from God. (Romans 13: 1). This is all sweeping:  authority of the federal, state, local governments and everything downstream.

How about the the authority of Jesus, the Son?  “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me."  (Matthew 28: 18). "Power" = "Authority".

Authority of the Church: 
#1 "The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them...... Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:  16 - 20).

#2  "Whoever listens to you [Apostles] listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”  (Luke 10: 16).

#3 "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16: 18 - 19).

On the question of authority, how confident will you be for a surgeon without license (authority) to operate on your only son? Or a lawyer without license to represent you on a felony case?

The world needs authority. The Sanhedrin was the supreme court of Israel.  In the USA, we respect the Supreme Court.  You may not always agree with them, but you understand the wisdom of the existence of the institution.
Why should it be different with the Church?  The Church is the Seed of the Kingdom of God here on earth and Jesus provided the Church with authority.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3: 5 - 6).

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Where can we see faith that moves mountains?

"Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God.  Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him."  (Mark 11: 22 - 23).

Do we still see faith that moves mountains?  We do indeed.  I have seen a few myself in everyday small matters and in huge international affairs.
Who could believe that apartheid in South Africa could be brought to an end in 1993 without a huge blood bath? A lot of prayers went up from all over the world to see this happy outcome.

St Peter teaches that faith is more precious than gold and silver. (Cf 1 Peter 1: 7). Whenever God plans to do a big thing in my life, first He gives me the faith and boldness to ask for it.  The rest is formality.

Jesus continues His teaching on prayer,  "Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours."  The person who doubts when he prays "must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways."  (James 1: 7 - 8).  A double-minded person may never receive anything he asks from God, says James.

Strong faith is a critical factor in all successful prayers but there is one other element without which no prayer can be answered:
"When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”  (Mark 11: 26).

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The Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June.

June 1st, 2018 First Friday in June 2018.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 6th month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #6.

#6.  "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy."

June is the Month the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  If you ask me, the promise this month is the greatest.  If you are not a sinner, stand up and shout it to the world!

Let us pray together:
"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, You are my sanctuary.  O adorable and glorious Savior, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Your Heart.

Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your Love.  Let my heart be one with, and in all things conformed to, Yours. May Your Will be the rule of both my desires and my actions. Amen."  (St Alphonsus Ligouri, Doctor of the Church).

"Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: "The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me." He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception."  (CCC 478).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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